Time to get out of the car and into the streets.
The 10th instalment of Car Free Day is coming to neighbourhoods throughout Vancouver on June 15. The festival sees major streets closed to traffic and transformed into free, open-air parties – with street food, live music, skate parks, arts and crafts markets and more.
Separate events are held in four neighbourhoods: Commercial Drive, Main Street, the West End and Kitsilano (details below). Each has its own flavour and activities corresponding to the character or the neighbourhood. Kitsilano highlights resident-hosted block parties, for example, while Main Street showcases dozens of local bands.
Car Free Day started 10 years ago on Commercial Drive in direct response to the Port Mann/Highway 1 improvement project. Though the multi-billion-dollar project is now nearing completion, Car Free Day still serves as a reminder that “fewer cars equals more community.” Here’s the lineup of events:
Commercial Drive: The birthplace of Car Free Day, Commercial Drive always pulls out all the stops. This year, expect 15 blocks of roller disco, parading drummers, healing gardens, DJs and lots of enthusiastic local residents. Sunday, June 15th, noon-7 p.m.; Commercial Drive from Venables to Grandview.
Main Street: Boasting the biggest bash of Car Free Day, Main Street features 21 blocks of pedestrian-friendly fun. The festival has earned a reputation for its great live music on community-supported stages, as well as a big skateboard half pipe. In addition, there’s a parkour course, multiple kid zones and artisan markets. Sunday, June 15th; noon-7 p.m.; Main Street from Broadway to 30th Avenue.
West End: One of Vancouver’s most diverse neighbourhoods, the West End puts on a low-key bash that welcomes all-comers, from families and kids to seniors and singles. There’s acoustic music on several stages, as well as a kids zone and a local artisan market. Sunday, June 15th, noon-6 p.m.; Denman Street from Davie Street to Robson Street.
Kitsilano: The leafy residential neighbourhood does something a little different for Car Free Day. Local residents host dozens of different block parties with their friends and neighbours. Each one is different: Some parties are little more than a couple of chairs dragged out into the middle of the street, while others have music and dancing. Saturday, June 14-Sunday, June 15; various locations in Kitsilano (map to be posted online).
Follow me on Twitter: